Google is building a machine learning technology centre in Zurich to bring the firm's machine intelligence research work to Europe.
The Google Research, Europe centre is effectively an extension of the Google Research division in the US, which focuses on machine learning and solving problems in Computer Science and related areas.
Emmanuel Mogenet, head of Google Research, Europe, explained that the new centre will enhance collaboration between Google’s researchers across the world, and aid the development of new tools and products based on machine learning technology and algorithms.
“Google Research, Europe will foster an environment where software engineers and researchers specialising in machine learning will have the opportunity to develop products and conduct research in Europe as part of the wider efforts at Google,” he wrote on the Google blog.
Zurich was chosen because it is the location for Google’s largest engineering office outside the firm's Mountain View headquarters in California.
The company's Zurich-based engineers created the engine that powers Knowledge Graph, Google’s framework that enhances how its search engine serves information to queries, along with the conversation engine that powers the Google Assistant in the Allo chat app.
Google Research, Europe will concentrate on developing machine intelligence, natural language processing and understanding, and machine perception technologies.
“In pursuit of these areas, the team will actively research ways to improve machine learning infrastructure, broadly facilitating research for the community, and enabling it to be put to practical use,” Mogenet said.
“Furthermore, researchers in the Zurich office will be uniquely able to work closely with team linguists, advancing natural language understanding in collaboration with Google Research groups across the world, all while enjoying 'mountain views' of a different kind.”
The move to set up a research centre in Europe highlights Google’s ambitions to push the scope of machine learning research and its integration into apps, software and devices used in everyday life.
However, the machine learning sector is getting crowded. Apple is pushing a smarter version of Siri into its products and services, and Facebook is exploring the use of machine learning technology that can ape how humans learn.
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